Three Impact Games in the ACC Coastal: Week 4


Listen up, College Football season. Like so many others, I waited the required eight months without any football so that you could build up all the intrigue and impact. But why do you have to fly by so quickly? How can it already be Week 4? A third of the season is upon us and I feel like the Heels opened up against the Gamecocks yesterday. Anyways, with a new rankings up and running, it’s time once again for three impact games in the ACC Coastal…

Georgia Tech at Duke (Saturday Sept 26th @ 12pm)

The first Coastal Division game of the season features two teams coming off losses to ranked teams. Can either Duke or Georgia Tech recover from their first real tests of the season?

Things going for the Yellow Jackets: In Duke’s only game so far against a ranked team, they were completely outplayed. They also gave up 201 yds to the Wildcats, which bodes well for option-friendly Georgia Tech. Also, despite getting outplayed for most of the game, they were able to score two touchdowns with 26 seconds of each other, giving them a chance to tie the game. In addition, they recovered an onside kick against a defense expecting it, which is always a plus.

Things going for the Blue Devils: Despite getting beat, the Devil’s defense continued to look strong holding a ranked Northwestern team to only three first half points. They also picked the quarterback off twice, including once on the Wildcat’s opening drive which lead to Duke’s only touchdown of the game. If the Irish showed the world anything, it’s that Tech can’t play from behind, as having their two best receivers go pro left the cupboard bare this season. Also, the Irish ran for 215 yds against the Jackets last week and that just happened to be the only other thing Duke did well against Northwestern.

Neither game last week was as close as the score indicated it would be. This is a big game not only for the Coastal implications, but because each team was considered a serious contender this season. Georgia Tech would seem to have the better team, but you can ask Tar Heel faithful what that can get you sometimes. Nonetheless, Duke looked worse last week as their offense could only produce 150 yds through the air last week. Expectations should be for Tech to walk out with the win, but in the Coastal, what is expected to happen rarely does.

Virginia Tech at ECU (Saturday Sept 26th @ 3:30pm)

Last year Virginia Tech was coming off a road win against Ohio State, before getting upset at home by an upstart ECU team. Can the Pirates pull the upset once again, this time at their house?

Things going for the Hokies: Current Hokies QB Brenden Motley is 2-0 since taking over for Michael Brewer in the Ohio State debacle. The defense is playing strong once again and Virginia Tech has scored 92 points in their last two contests. Plus, ECU is coming off back to back road losses, including their latest in a thumping at undefeated Navy.

Things going against the Hokies: ECU’s lone home game is also their only win of the season, implying that maybe the Pirates are overdue for some home cooking. Also, though Virginia Tech has won their last two decisively, no one is confusing Purdue and Furman for anything resembling a competitive football team.

This is not the same Pirate team from last season that had their way with the Heels at home. So an upset isn’t as certain as it might have been earlier in the season. However, ECU has spent the last two games on the road and gave Florida a run for their money in the swamp. As long as the Hokies take care of the football, they should leave Greenville with their third win of the season.

Boise State at Virginia (Friday Sept 25th @ 8pm)

Virginia is coming off its first win of the season, while Boise State is playing its second game of the season away from home. Will the Cavaliers be able to make it two in a row or will the Broncos get their first road win of the season?

Things going for the Cavaliers: A win is a win and the Cavs did just get their first of the season. Ask the Heels if that can’t get the ball rolling. Also the game is at home and if not for a late scoring play by Notre Dame, Virginia would be 2-0 in Charlottesville this season.

Things going against the Cavaliers: In their two wins, Boise State has outscored their opponents 68-13. Plus, a Virginia defense that has given up 550 yards so far this year is facing a Broncos rushing attack that is averaging almost 200 rushing yards a game. Also, while former Virginia starter Greyson Lambert is setting NCAA records at Georgia, current starter Matt Johns threw two interceptions against FCS William & Mary.

Though Boise State’s only loss of the season came on the road, it came at BYU on the Cougars second Hail Mary in as many weeks. Virginia struggled against an FCS team and clearly looks like the worst team in the Coastal Division. Unless the Virginia that played Notre Dame shows up, it is hard to see anyone but Boise State walking out with a “W” in this one.

One to keep an eye on: Delaware at North Carolina (Saturday Sept 26th @ 12:30pm)

Sep 19, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise William (12) throws the ball during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. Two weeks ago questions were being raised about whether Marquise Williams was the right guy to lead this team after throwing three interceptions in a disappointing loss to South Carolina. Six touchdowns and 572 total yds later, there is no doubt who should be running this high-powered offense. Two weeks ago there were questions of whether UNC could score against a FBS opponent. 48 points and a thrashing of previously undefeated Illinois and the Heels look like a force in the ACC.

Does Delaware really pose a threat to the Heels? Not unless they are looking ahead to next week’s Coastal showdown at Georgia Tech. However, with the way Chizik has the defense playing and with Fedora’s overall play calling improving, the Heels should easily be able to run over the Blue Hens to their third straight victory of the season.

That actually does it for the Coastal as Miami and Pittsburgh enjoy byes this week. So coast through Friday, turn off the phones Saturday, and bunker down, the season is rolling and every week something awesome is happening.